It was after the birth of my first son that I realized that I needed to embark on some sort of work-life balance if I was going to keep my sanity as I attempted to be a working mom. I had quickly come to realize that, although being a working mom is invigorating and rewarding, being a working mom is also complicated and exhausting.
And… not easy.
However, all I saw was other working moms making it look so easy. They were either painting on a nice smile, hiding their exhausted over stressed true self, or I was not pulling off being a working mom very well. Others were looking like they were able to “have it all” while I felt like I was drowning and not doing many things well at all.
What I have come to understand is that you can’t have it all. The treadmill we are on is going at a pace that we can hardly keep up with and will not magically slow down one day. In fact, as life continues, the pace of the treadmill will often speed up. Rather than trying to have everything, I realized that I needed to prioritize some things and offload others to survive as a working mom. We need to start trading things in and trading things out at different times in our life, week or day. The result is that I have needed to become a highly scheduled person in order to fit in as many different things into my life as I can.
Full disclosure….I work from home. I am aware that this clearly offers me many benefits over those who need to commute to their jobs.
Rather than trying to have everything, I realized that I needed to prioritize some things and offload others to survive as a working mom.
In order to function at some healthy level, I need to look weeks in advance of my kid’s schedule to see what they have going on before I can schedule work meetings, conference calls and work travel.
I get up early, read my devotions, workout for 30-40 minutes all before the kids go to school. For a lunch break, I will try and meet a friend for coffee or lunch so I can stay connected. My friends laugh at me when I say I have exactly 49 minutes… it’s true! When the kids get home from school I don’t take work meetings unless I absolutely have to. I still stay connected to my emails until around 9:00pm… I know this isn’t exactly healthy but it is how I function when I’m driving the kids between their activities between 3pm and 5pm (this would be an example of trading things in and out!) After dinner I typically have to finish up work by sending a few emails and shutting my computer down for the night. I struggle with staying mentally focused, emotionally balanced and physically fit. Some days it’s not balanced at all and I feel like I’m letting everyone down.
5 Things I try and do to stay somewhat sane and find some form of work-life balance:
- Keep a combined work and personal calendar
- Write down the things that are most important to you and schedule them in. Do NOT skip them. Check that list as soon as you get up. Schedule your priorities!
- Have friends that are gracious….by that I mean friends that let you be you and understand if you just can’t meet for coffee because your day has gotten away on you! (I am very thankful for my friends who are constantly putting up with me)
- Get 7 hours of sleep… I know its old advice but I swear by it.
- Try and reserve 1 day a week for rest and family time. My friend has always done Sunday night dinner with her kids. I started copying that a few years ago as I loved how it was never negotiable unless something major came up. Dinner Sunday night… as a family… not negotiable.
You got this,